Archive Review: The Nun (2018)

The way the Conjuring universe has expanded is proof that you in fact CAN have too much of a good thing.  These Spin-Offs are slowly getting worse and worse.

Certificate: 15

Director: Corin Hardy

Screenwriter: Gary Dauberman

Starring: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 96 Minutes

Rating: 2 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of the same demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in ‘The Conjuring 2,’ as the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned. Written by Warner Bros.

The first two conjuring films were a huge commercial success.  They somehow managed to find that sweet spot in the horror genre that brings in the big crowds.  Their runaway success however has since lead to an avalanche of much less good, second rate, cash grabbing spin offs.  Each telling the story of one of the demons, or evil spirits that we see during the films of the main franchise.  After ‘The Conjuring 2’ everyone was fascinated/terrified of the Nun character.  And lone behold, that character now has her own film, to make her seem a lot less terrifying and pretty much bore the pants off any horror fan. 

OK, that might not be fair.  This film isn’t boring per se.  It is just very, very predictable.  There are occasional little twists that happen along the way, but once you see where the film is going, nothing that happens from that point is a surprise to anyone.  The film does a great job of building up a creepy, suspenseful atmosphere, lots of dark shots and shadows in the back/foreground of the frame that the characters can’t see.  The problem is I don’t really think any of this atmosphere pays off.  Most of the big scares rely on making the audience jump, always a cheep shot in my opinion and a waste of all the ground work they put in to make the film seem scary.

Taissa Farmiga gives a pretty good performance here, though we know this is the kind of material she is used to and good at from her days on AHS, so that was no surprise.  The surprise was that our main character was so very dull.  We get a hint that she has an interesting back story concerning visions and premonitions perhaps, but that is used only as a plot device, not as a way of giving Irene any kind of depth or development.  The same with Father Burke, a hint of a decent backstory, but it isn’t really discussed or utilised in any way that matters.

I would highly recommend if you are going to start watching the Conjuring universe, that you stick to the two main movies only and await the third instalment next year.  These Spin-Offs are getting gradually worse and I can’t in good conscience recommend them.

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